Chris Matthews and Dan Rather Discuss Hillary the Chickenhawk

A truly shocking discussion transpired on Sunday’s “The Chris Matthews Show” that conceivably has grave implications for the presidential aspirations of Hillary Clinton.

Before getting to the guts, the gist of this surprising conversation between host Chris Matthews and former CBS anchorman Dan Rather was how farcical the current move by Senate Democrats to “repeal the 2002 resolution for war” is. Furthermore, though it is a dangerous tactic for the left, the person most negatively impacted could be Sen. Clinton who “has to be careful to not come across as a chickenhawk.”

Adding to the surprising nature of this segment, Matthews actually began the discussion by comically mocking Democrats for this new strategy (Hot Air has video available here):

The Senate Democrats want to repeal the 2002 resolution for war. Late this week they made it clear they want a new resolution that will limit the mission. Dan, they want to be able to go back to 2002, have a redo like you do on exams, “I was not feeling good that day, I got a low SAT score. I was sick, give me another redo.” Does this give Hillary a chance to register a vote that gets all that argument behind her about how she voted before?

It must be noted that as Matthews was making these remarks, all of the panel members were laughing like they quite agreed with his sentiments. Then, Rather astoundingly answered:

It gives her a chance, I don’t think it will work. This is very dangerous for the Democrats. In the end it may be the best thing for them. No one should make any mistake cause it’s very dangerous for them because there is a part of the public, a large part of it hates the war, hates what’s going on, but within their gut say we don’t want to undercut troops in the field and that’s the danger for Democrats…And, there’s danger for Hillary because, this argument of, well, is she a hawk, is she a dove – she has to be careful to not come across as a chickenhawk.

Matthews then asked Rather to explain. Rather answered, “Well, what that means is trying to have it both ways.

Amazing. Now, in fairness, Rather seemed to be playing a bit footloose and fancy-free with this unflattering epithet. As most are aware, the term “chickenhawk” has typically been defined as a political figure that supports a war or military action, but never served in the armed forces. This is especially the case for those who dodged the draft when it was still in force by getting a college deferment or using political influence to avoid service.

Regardless of the distinction, it was still amazing to see a liberal like Rather use such a descriptor for Sen. Clinton, and, maybe more astonishing, that Matthews didn’t challenge him or refute this claim.

What follows is a partial transcript of this segment.

Chris Matthews: The Senate Democrats want to repeal the 2002 resolution for war. Late this week they made it clear they want a new resolution that will limit the mission. Dan, they want to be able to go back to 2002, have a redo like you do on exams, “I was not feeling good that day, I got a low SAT score. I was sick, give me another redo.” Does this give Hillary a chance to register a vote that gets all that argument behind her about how she voted before?

Dan Rather: It gives her a chance, I don’t think it will work. This is very dangerous for the Democrats. In the end it may be the best thing for them. No one should make any mistake cause it’s very dangerous for them because there is a part of the public, a large part of it hates the war, hates what’s going on, but within their gut say we don’t want to undercut troops in the field and that’s the danger for Democrats.

Matthews: Any vote that changes the commission of these guys.

Rather: Exactly. And, there’s danger for Hillary because, this argument of, well, is she a hawk, is she a dove – she has to be careful to not come across as a chickenhawk.

Matthews: Well, what does that mean?

Rather: Well, what that means is trying to have it both ways.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.